Framed by your gender?
An acquaintance (Black and male) piqued my curiosity when he stated that he has never worked with a good female boss, all of them were moody and ‘emotional’. On further probing he admitted that he had a Black and female boss who was hands off, a leadership style which he enjoyed. He also admitted that his current boss who is male is moody and ‘emotional’ but quickly added that he was an exception.
This is what is called attribution bias that women experience in the workplace. Where their strengths or accomplishment are downplayed and their ‘weaknesses’ are blown out of proportion. I suppose this what Dolly Parton was referring to when she sang ‘my mistakes are no worse than yours just because I’m a woman’.
The truth is that women do experience higher levels of fluctuations in emotions due to hormonal fluctuations as a result of periods, side effects of birth control and other medications, menopause, etc. Societal conditioning also allows women to be more free to express their emotions more than men are allowed to. Some women do better than others in being able to rein these emotions in.
The important thing to remember is that this is a difference not a weakness. When we measure the standards of professionalism using male and western characteristics. We are ‘othering’ those who do not ‘naturally’ act this way and we require them to assimilate in order to be included. We also judge them more harshly for their authenticity.
Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?
My name is Busisiwe Hlatswayo and I coach Black women to position themselves for leadership, navigate race and gender bias and be effective leaders in the workplace and the market place
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